Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

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We've all had the odd fender bender in our day. But most of us don't get sued for $1 million afterwards. Then again, most of us aren't Dallas Cowboy running backs.

Ezekiel Elliott is facing a lawsuit claiming Elliott's negligence left a man -- a Cowboys fan, no less -- with "serious life-altering injuries." Ronnie Hill claims he's still dealing with medical issues from the 2017 accident, and is seeking $1 million in damages.

Scientists are still wrapping their heads around chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurodegenerative disease discovered, most notably, in ex-NFL players. Researchers still haven't found tests to definitively identify CTE in living people, but they are pinpointing signs and symptoms displayed by those with CTE before they die, from confusion, disorientation, dizziness, and headaches in early stages to dementia, depression, suicidality, social instability, and impulsive behavior in later stages.

And while science is still trying to sort out how CTE works, criminal attorneys are trying to figure out if the brain disease can work as a defense to criminal behavior. Here's a look.

An academic institution's ability to hold a student-athlete hostage for a year after they transfer to another academic institution protects "the character of intercollegiate athletics," according to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. A football player had challenged the NCAA's transfer rule, which bars transferring athletes from competing for their new schools for a year, claiming it violated federal anti-trust laws.

The court disagreed, ruling that the "year-in-residence requirement is an eligibility rule clearly meant to preserve the amateur character of college athletics and is therefore presumptively procompetitive." Here's what that means.

In February of this year, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Reuben Foster was arrested on charges of domestic violence, threats, and possession of an assault weapon. And it didn't take long for at least domestic charges to get resolved.

A Santa Clara judge dismissed those charges last week, after ruling there was insufficient evidence to proceed with his domestic violence case. Foster pleaded not guilty to the assault weapons charge, which was reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor.

The prospect of players kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and criminal justice inequality sent President Donald Trump into such apoplectic fits last season that NFL team owners felt compelled to act before the 2018 season kicks off. And act they did.

The owners voted yesterday to remove a requirement for players to be on the field for the national anthem, giving them the option to stay in the locker room. If players do come onto the field for the anthem, however, their teams can get fined if the players fail to stand and "show respect for the flag and the Anthem." Here's a closer look.

A Florida parent of a high school football team captain complained on Twitter about the school's athletic director "falling down drunk and driving on school property multiple times while supervising students." Curiously though, the parent is now facing a legal battle. 

Pompano Beach High Athletic Director Jason Frey sued parent Larry Little for libel and slander. The lawsuit is apparently the latest shot fired in a feud that allegedly stems from Frey suspending Little from volunteering with the football team.

Here's a closer look at the legal spat.

The relationship between NFL cheerleaders and the teams that employ them has gotten quite litigious over the past few years. The Buffalo Jills sued the Bills franchise, claiming hundreds of hours of unpaid labor along with harassment and degrading sexual comments at team events. A Raiderette sued the Oakland team for numerous wage and hour violations related to minimum wage, overtime, expenses, and breaks. Heck, a San Francisco 49ers cheerleaders even filed a class action lawsuit against the NFL itself, claiming the league "conspired with the Defendant NFL Member Teams to coordinate, encourage, facilitate, and implement the agreement in order to pay female athletes below fair market value."

The lawsuits are often drawn out legal quagmires and in rare cases can result in six-figure settlements that include strong reminders from the teams that they deny any liability or wrongdoing. But two cheerleaders who filed lawsuits against the NFL have a much different settlement idea -- $1 apiece and a meeting with Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Concussions have become so common in football that players, for the most part, now know the risks they are undertaking by playing the sport. Likewise, lawsuits involving concussed players have become so common that coaches, administrators, and medical staff are knowledgeable and diligent enough to recognize concussion symptoms and provide treatment as soon as possible. At least, they should be.

That's what one former high school football player claimed in a lawsuit against a San Diego school district after a failure to diagnose and treat a concussion led to brain swelling, emergency surgery, a medically induced coma, and permanent damage to his brain. The school district settled the lawsuit this week, for $7.1 million.

Divorced Parents Go to Court Over Son Playing HS Football

Divorce can certainly take a heavy toll on a family. But in a unique case out of Pittsburgh, one former husband-and-wife team is taking the acrimony to new levels by playing tug-of-war with their son's ability to play high school football.

In this case, one parent thinks the sport is too dangerous, while the other thinks the benefits outweigh the risks. And it's not what you think -- dad is actually the one saying "no" to football. But who decides? And will junior be forced to sit on the sidelines until the case is resolved?

How Will the New Tax Law Affect Sports Teams?

Your favorite hometown sports team may be planning more than just its next game plan or roster move. Tax reform is here, and everyone from the local sports bar to the hot dog vendor might be doing the math to figure out how it affects their bottom line. 

The new tax law changes will impact everything from college athletics to corporate ticket purchases and sports financing. So what's the inside story?